Sweden failed last year in its fight against gang crime, the country’s Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer said after a wave of violence over the festive period saw the 63rd fatal shooting across the country in 2022.
“The citizens have a legitimate expectation that the results will be significantly much better,” Strömmer said in a video published by Swedish broadcaster SVT.
The Moderate party justice minister, who has served in the cabinet of Ulf Kristersson since October last year, called for regional law enforcement agencies to pool their resources and “make a powerful mobilization” in order to “break this gross and serious crime.”
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The Christmas weekend sparked a spate of violent incidents that continued into the new year, with Swedish media reporting the fatal shooting of a 27-year-old man with connections to an organized crime gang on Christmas morning in the Rinkeby district of Stockholm.
Two days later, an explosion was reported in Enskededalen, southern Stockholm, in a stairwell at the residence of a man linked to gang crime and associated with the murdered man in Rinkeby.
On Dec. 28, two shootings were reported in Gubbängen, southern Stockholm, for which two minors, aged 14 and 15, were arrested.
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On the same night, an explosion took place in the residential neighborhood of Farsta in the Swedish capital. The incident occurred at an address registered to a man in his 20s with links to organized crime.
New Year’s Eve saw a spate of incidents across Stockholm, as an explosive device was detonated in Rågsved, and three people were injured in a shooting in Vällingby, in the west of the capital. Police later confirmed that one person died from their injuries.
Additionally, on Jan. 2, two explosions in apartment buildings in Stockholm saw five people arrested. The first took place shortly after 3 a.m. in Grimsta, western Stockholm, with a second occurring at 4.30 a.m. in Bagarmossen in the capital’s southeast.
Strömmer told the Swedish broadcaster that there was no quick fix to the rise of gang crime in the country, and warned it would take time for the new government to get a handle on the situation.
He claimed, however, the Moderate-led administration has already made strides to address the issue by increasing the financial resources available for police forces and focusing on prevention in schools and social services to dissuade vulnerable minors from falling into the hands of criminal gangs.
“I think that everyone understands that this is a development that takes time to reverse, but we will use the time as well as possible,” Strömmer told SVT.
“When it comes to working methods, methodology, and organization, I do not rule out at all that there may be a need to do other things; however, I cannot give information about that today,” the justice minister added.